Ponca to Pruitt Via Buffalo River Trail

HARD 45 reviews
#6 of 29 trails in

Ponca to Pruitt Via Buffalo River Trail is a 24.3 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Ponca, Arkansas that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
24.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,438 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

backpacking

birding

camping

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

paddle sports

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no dogs

Great camping spots at Horseshoe Bend. You can hike all day on quiet trails, only running into the occasional hiker, and make camp by the river at night. Great trail.

backpacking
3 months ago

We hiked from Boxley to Pruitt (roughly 37 miles) from June 6-9. It was hot and tick-filled but a great backpacking trip! The trail was a bit overgrown in some parts, but still pretty easy to navigate--a good amount of blazes helped! Lots of already established backcountry campsites. Sadly, campers before us did not do a good job practicing LNT principles :-(

Quite a few creek beds were dry but we were still able to find a good amount of water.

6 months ago

A friend and I backpacked this trail (Buffalo River Trail with connecting trails to the Old River Trail) earlier this week. We actually began at the trail’s beginning at the Boxley trailhead, which is 11 miles southwest of the Ponca trailhead, and we hiked to the trail’s conclusion at Pruitt, some 37 miles from Boxley; we took four days to hike and camped three nights. Past Steel Creek, we took a connecting trail (marked “Primitive Trail”) down from the BRT in the mountains to the ORT along the river. We followed the ORT to Jim’s Bluff, where we spent our second of three nights. The next day, we followed this old and poorly-marked horse trail to Hemmed-In Hollow, which is a box canyon containing the tallest waterfall between the Appalachians and Rockies; from there, we trekked along the ORT for three more miles in our water shoes to reconnect with the BRT at Kyle’s Landing.

We fell in love with this trail—what a wild, beautiful and unforgiving terrain with incredible views, ozark glades, waterfalls, wildlife and homestead ruins around every bend. Something to consider, though: while we found many backcountry campsites with water sources toward the beginning of the trail, we found very few toward the end. Past Kyle’s Landing, the trail stayed high above the river, and with little remaining light, we were forced to stealth-camp past Erbie at one of the only sections of trail with river access. (We could have camped at Erbie campground if we’d carried more cash and less pride.)

hiking
6 months ago

Awesome hike! Lots of water to tred through along the way, beautiful sights, and good swimming hole spots!

backpacking
10 months ago

Awesome trail! We hiked in on the Old river trail about 9.5 miles first day and camped off of the “primitive route”. Found a great camping spot right next to a spring with great water. Hiked back to the horse stables the next day and then onto the BRT! Beautiful scenery and the BRT is a real butt kicker!

Monday, August 07, 2017

Can't wait to do it again!

backpacking
Monday, June 26, 2017

Really enjoyed hiking this place. I plan to go back in the fall.

backpacking
Thursday, May 11, 2017

Hiked from Kyle's Landing to Steel Creek on the BRT. Then canoed from Steel Creek back to Kyle's Landing on the Buffalo River. A really cool way to make a "loop" back to the vehicle while getting some hiking and canoeing in. Awesome Place! Will be going back soon to hike the most western and most eastern parts of the BRT to finish the trail off!

backpacking
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Second time to hike BRT from Steel Creek to Kyle's Landing and back to Steel Creek on ORT via Horseshoe Bend.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Great for all skill levels and kids. Amazing views of the Buffalo River!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Hiked Ponca to Pruitt. One of my favorite trails in Arkansas. Great camping spots at Horseshoe Bend. Love hiking all day on quiet trails, running into the occasional hiker, and making camp by the river at night. Great trail.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

We had an amazing time here, we spent the day last summer. We had a picnic and just lounged in the water. Great place to take the family on a hot summer day to just cool of and enjoy the great outdoors. The view is amazing!

camping
Monday, January 25, 2016

Great campground on the Buffalo with good amenities for groups and convenient access to an outfitter. Great hiking all around.

hiking
Monday, January 04, 2016

My daughter and I hiked Boxley to Ponca and definitely want to go back and hike some more. Beautiful area, great time of year to see fall colors!

camping
Thursday, August 27, 2015

One of the best backpacking trips I've ever been on. The mosquitos were a little heavy handed, but still the most gorgeous place I've been in a while.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

I want to live here. No words for the beauty!

paddle sports
Thursday, June 04, 2015

Canoed from Ponca to Pruitt. Used the Lost Valley Canoe. Absolutely the worse service. Left us on the river for 5 hours. Flood levels. Left our car at wrong location. Said it was our fault that we did not understand that they were busy. The River was dangerous and they did not tell us.
Do not use this business. Buffalo River Outfitter are much better. I will contact the National Park Service, as they are a licensed provider. They should lose their license. Otherwise the river was high and fast. If you are not experienced, do not ride the river when the Ponca Low Water Bridge is anything under 10 inches of air space. .

camping
Monday, January 12, 2015

Have used the primitive campground a number of times. Great staging area. This is a for fee NF campground, but in the winter months is is open for free camping.

paddle sports
Sunday, September 28, 2014

I've hiked Ponca to Kyle's many times.
And have canoed here count less times. It's wild to mild depending on water Levals. The good people at lost valley canoe can help you with shuttle service weather your canoeing or hiking. They also rent canoes, cabins, primitive camp sights, showers, and last Minot supply's

camping
Thursday, September 25, 2014

I hate haven to pay for camping.

paddle sports
Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I have been canoeing the Ponca to Kyle's Landing section of this river since 1978. Then and during the 1980s, one could encounter significant whitewater if you caught the water flow right. I have noticed a change in the flow, not as many rapid formations. I discussed this with a local outfitter who stated that the floods have caused the river to change course, eliminating some of the more fun spots. It is still a beautiful river and I love hiking the trails around it, like Hawksbill Crag, Goats Trail to Big Bluff, Hemmed in Hollow, etc.

camping
Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Camping here is convenient, with decent toilet facilities, but it is row camping next to a parking area. When we were there ticks and chiggers were crazy!

paddle sports
Monday, June 09, 2014

This was a lot of fun for first time Kayakers like us. The river is scenic through the first half of this stretch and the 27 class 1 rapids also keep it very interesting. Our inexperience meant that we took a couple of tumbles each, but got away with just scratches and bruises.

hiking
Monday, March 24, 2014

Hiked the 2.6 from Kyles to Ponca. Trail departs from just behind the Kyles Landing bathrooms, ends at the parking lot at Ponca Landing. Some moderate climbs for the first half mile as you go up the bluff from the Kyles campground. From there is fairly level until the descent to Ponca. Great scenery and perfect weather on the first day of spring.

paddle sports
Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Canoed the upper Buffalo River, from Ponca to Kyles Landing. Approximately 10 miles. Water level was low. Some rapids. The bluffs and scenery were beautiful.

hiking
Friday, November 22, 2013

Did Boxley to Pruitt a few years ago in May...absolutely perfect time to be out there! Slaty Place kicked out butts, but the views along the trail are fantastic. Wish the horse trails didn't piggyback the hiking trails so much. Headed to do Wollum to Tyler Bend this weekend...should be cold. Buffalo River is a wonderful treasure.

hiking
Saturday, November 09, 2013

We had originally set out to take the Lost Valley hike but had to change to this because Lost Valley no longer allows dogs.

We hiked about a mile up and a mile back along the river with the dogs. It was a pretty leisurely hike but wore the pups out because of the sand and rocks, which is what we were hoping for. While it wasn't difficult, the scenery was awesome, it was a late fall day so there were a lot of shadows.

There are horse trails that run along the river, but suprisingly this place was not busy at all.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

This is a huge campground and it can be very busy in the nicer weather months. The campground is right on the Buffalo River, and it's backdrop is a huge bluff. If you're backpacking the Buffalo River from Boxley, then this can be a good stop for the weary backpacker. If you go in the off season months, the bathrooms will be closed (there are permanent porta potties that are open year round). In the off season months the water will be turned off. Either pack in your own water if car-camping, or if you're backpacking, make sure to bring a water filter if you need drinking water. You can filter all the water you need from the Buffalo River.

hiking
Wednesday, August 07, 2013

I went from Boxley to Pruitt once on a backpacking trip, but normally start from Ponca and go to Kyles Landing. The trail has some steep sections that can be tough with a 40+ lb pack. I typically do the trail in the winter. No bugs and no people. Great trails with lots of good views. Going from Kyles to Erbie is also a great section of the trail.

hiking
Tuesday, May 28, 2013

As others mentioned, there are two hiking trails running along the river, the Old River Trail, which is accessible to both hikers and horse riders, and the Buffalo River Trail which is for hikers only.

I hiked the BRT from Ponca to Pruitt. It is a beautiful hike and the friendly folks at Buffalo Outdoor Center in Ponca can shuttle your vehicle to many points along BRT, so you can easily make it a point-to-point hike.

It is a nice trail with several spectacular viewpoints running through a beautiful countryside. But it often runs away from the river, so I didn't get as many views of the river as I expected and it took me through some hills. Mosquitoes and ticks start being really active in late May and the less used parts of the trail can get overgrown. So while I still enjoyed the hike, I would recommend doing it earlier in the spring or in the fall.

The best part of my hike was sleepover near Erbie. The Erbie campground was closed due to the sequester, so I found a quiet place on a bluff above the river. I got to see a beaver take evening swim in the river just before I went to sleep :)

hiking
Thursday, May 16, 2013

not a bad little spot on the river

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